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Название: Junior Worldmark encyclopedia of foods and recipes of the world. Volume 4. Spain to Zimbabwe, Cumulative Index
Автор: Hanson K.L.
This approach to world cultures through food could have been a major breakthrough for its intended middle-school audience. It has many of the right ingredients, especially its established Junior Worldmark format, where alphabetized country entries are divided into standard subsections covering geography; history; foods (including those of different culture groups); religious and holiday celebrations; mealtime customs; politics, economics, and nutrition; and both print and Web-based resources for further study.
The 70 articles cover nations and culture groups worldwide and offer more than 700 recipes for both traditional and modern dishes. Introductory material addresses basic safety and health issues, defines cooking terminology and procedures, and lists ingredients, with suggestions on how to locate more exotic goods. Unfortunately, the set has several drawbacks. The most noticeable is the lack of color photographs or graphic enhancement. Murky black-and-white pictures accompany the recipes, creating tableaus that are particularly unappetizing. The photos are so grainy that even shots meant to instruct or demonstrate are useless. The recipes themselves are serviceable but unexciting.
Although there is useful information here about food and dietary customs, it is difficult to discern the practical application for the recipes. Are the volumes meant to be used as cookbooks, because middle-school curriculum often rotates students through electives, including foods preparation classes? Are they meant for the social studies classroom, where cooking facilities are rare? If the majority of students will be preparing the dishes at home, as seems likely, wouldn't a loose-leaf binder with easily reproducible pages have made more sense? Considering the intended audience, other user-friendly enhancements, such as consecutive numbering throughout all four volumes instead of a cumbersome volume-page system, would also have been preferable.
This resource could have been a visually enticing, innovative introduction to different cultures and ethnic groups. Perhaps the publishers will consider serving up something a bit more palatable in future editions.